8 Games to Help Your Children Develop Gross Motor Skills
When we talk about gross motor development in children, we’re basically talking about the movement of the larger muscles in the body. So, we’re talking about actions such as jumping, running, climbing, dancing, etc. The good news is that there are plenty of games to play with your children to help them develop gross motor skills.
Playing movement games at home is a great way to boost your child’s gross motor skills development. So, don’t miss the chance to play the games that we’re going to share with you in this article. Your child will be able to work on a variety of skills, such as hand-eye coordination, balance, jumping, spatial awareness, muscle strength, and agility.
Games to develop gross motor skills
This activity can be played with a plastic bowling set or a homemade one. You can use empty plastic bottles and pour some sand or water into them to keep them steady.
You can also turn this into a creative activity and paint the bottles in different colors. In addition to this, you can vary the amount of sand or water in the bottles to alter how easy or hard they are to knock down with the ball. Arrange the bottles in a V-shape and take turns playing.
This game is an old one, but children still love it. Hopscotch is best played outside, drawing the squares with chalk on the cement or concrete floor. You can take turns with your child to jump across the squares.
Jump on one foot in single squares and two feet in double squares (one foot in each). When you reach the end, turn around and go back to the start. Learning to jump on one or two feet is an important skill for a preschooler and this is a great game to learn.
When your child has mastered how to jump, then you can vary the game. Use a stone, and throw it in to the first square before starting. Then, the child has to jump directly to the second square and avoid the stone. Then they should jump right up to the number 10 square, turn around, and go back again. When they reach square number 1 they have to bend down only using one leg and pick up the stone.
3. Balancing games
For this game you can use a garden beam or a makeshift beam of wood or some other material (bricks or low stools). Practice walking on it without falling and turn it into a game. Pretend there are crocodiles under the “bridge” that you’re walking on. Challenge your child to cross it, and then to turn around at the end and walk back without falling.
4. Everyone into the tunnel!
Stand a short distance away from your child with your legs wide apart and get them to roll a ball through the tunnel, that is, through your legs.
With practice, you can start to move further away from your child and make the tunnel narrower by bringing your legs closer together, and even by using a smaller ball. This is a good game to develop ball skills and hand-eye coordination.
5. Obstacle course
Work on your child’s strength and agility with a fun, homemade obstacle course that can be built either inside or outside the home. What matters here is that you get creative. Put several props on a “course” and let your children take turns taking on the course and even running through it.
Provide a combination of activities on each course, such as opportunities to climb, jump, throw, etc. Here are some ideas for props and activities:
- Stepping on or climbing chairs
- Walking along boards
- Put shoe boxes on their heads to work on their balance
- Jumping on steps
- Balancing on tree branches
6. Egg and spoon race
This race is a favorite on toddler sports days; your kids will love competing with you in this fun game. Simply balance an egg on a spoon and run from the start line to the finish line.
It’s best to boil the eggs first, unless you’re really in the mood for messy fun! Nothing will sharpen your skills and concentration faster than the threat of an egg breaking!
7. Simon says
Simon says is a game that can be played to develop many of your child’s skills, including listening skills, concentration, auditory perception, etc.
Use this game as a way to stimulate your child’s large muscles. Make it more fun by taking turns and letting your child give you directions to follow, too. Some ideas may include:
- Imitate a crab and walk to the wall and back
- Run towards a tree, jump 4 times and run back
- Do 3 somersaults, turn around and lie face up
8. Throwing balloons to develop gross motor skills
The goal here is to see how long you can keep the balloon in the air, hitting it from side to side, before it falls to the ground. Then, when they’ve mastered the way the balloon flies, you can make it more difficult and try with two balloons in the air at the same time.
In short, there’s nothing better than helping your child develop their gross motor skills, while enjoying playing and spending quality time together. What are you waiting for to put all these activities into practice?!
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Imbernón-Giménez, S., Díaz-Suárez, A., & Martínez-Moreno, A. (2020). Motricidad fina versus gruesa en niños y niñas de 3 a 5 años. Sport Health Res, 12, 228-237. https://recyt.fecyt.es/index.php/JSHR/article/download/80555/50283/0
- Manzano, S. M. (2015). La psicomotricidad ayer y hoy: un acontecimiento histórico. Padres y Maestros/Journal of Parents and Teachers, (364), 06-12.